Viking Versus Giants: Jotun Now Kickstarting

By Alice O'Connor on July 22nd, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

You won't see Thora Hird doing that.

Say the name Thora and I’ll think of dear Thora Hird or Thora Birch, entirely missing its origins as the feminine version of Thor. Seeing Jotun makes this smack-bang blindingly obvious. Not one to give an Alan Bennett monologue or act precocious, she’s more into slaying giants. Giant giants.

“Imagine the mysterious romantic mood of Journey mixed with the scale of the boss fights in Shadow of the Colossus in top-down 2D,” developers Thunder Lotus Games suggest. Don’t mind if I do! If you enjoy imagining that enough, you mighty fancy helping make it unimaginary. Thunder Lotus are running a Kickstarter for Jotun, do you see?

Thora’s stuck in a Viking purgatory after dying a dishonourable death, and apparently the way out is through the shins, spines and faces of some really very large elemental giants. The plan’s to mix procedurally-generated wandering and puzzling with deadly combat inspired by Dark Souls and The Legend of Zelda games, which is a curious mix. Unfortunately, all we have to go on for now are descriptions, concept art, and a few fine animated scenes. But we all understand that Kickstarters are dreams and not promises, right?

Thunder Lotus are trying to raise $50,000 Canadian (£27 grand) to hire an artist and a programmer and rent office space, planning to finish Jotun by September 2015. Pledging at least $15 CAD (about £8.25) would get you a copy of the finished game. Here’s the pitch:

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24 Comments »

  1. MobileAssaultDuck says:

    It’s not pronounced “J”otun, it’s pronounced “Y”otun, like in the word ‘Fjord” or “Bjorn”.

    If you want to say Jotun in English, the word is Ettin.

  2. Nixitur says:

    An artist, a programmer and office space for 50k bucks?
    I’m sorry, but no, that doesn’t seem realistic in the slightest. And while I love the idea, I’m very skeptical about this project, especially since we have very little to go on.

    • cleuseau says:

      The developer is an acquaintance of mine and I assure you things are much cheaper in Montreal than you would expect. It is his first project and the guy has put a lot of brilliant work into it and lets just say he is hungry.

      • ShadowTiger says:

        Maybe he wouldn’t be hungry if he could afford to buy food.

        Seriously though, I worked for free on a game as a programmer, so getting paid even a few thousand dollars is better than nothing : D

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Are you saying it’s too much or not enough? Seems reasonable to me.

      • Shuck says:

        That’s not even remotely enough. They’re looking at a year of development (if they get it done on time). That amount might cover one salary, if it’s a friend willing to work well below market rate. It won’t cover two salaries and office space. Montreal isn’t that cheap. I can only assume they’re either adding substantial funds of their own, or they expect to find a couple people willing to work for nothing. The problem that many Kickstarters have is that they rely on free or almost-free labor, but when that free labor is no longer able to work on the project, they can’t afford to actually hire someone to replace them.

  3. GernauMorat says:

    Off topic, but Areal KS was just cancelled:
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1577656602/areal

    • Frank says:

      Oh, that’s interesting. “Suspended” sounds like the term KS would use when they did it against the project-runner’s wishes.

  4. altum videtur says:

    Here’s a better primer for guy-wars-against-giant:
    “TO THE LAST I GRAPPLE WITH THEE
    FROM HELL’S HEART I STAB AT THEE
    FOR HATE’S SAKE I SPIT MY LAST BREATH AT THEE”

    Three verses (or is that only for when you refer to the Bible? lines then), and you set up the trailer to be like 16 seconds long, only four 4-second bits of gameplay footage required. No music, only sound effects.
    So:
    1. Tiny guy wonders through snow (BUT SECRETLY HES GRATE! LIKE BIG HERRO! OF INTRANSIGENCY OR OBSERVER OF ONE’S DUTY TO DIE BEAUTIFULLY AND IN VAIN OR SOMESUCHS!)
    -first line goes here-
    2. Yotun rises from snow
    -second line-
    3. Yotun roars at guy
    -third line-
    4. Tiny guy readies weapon (LOOK! IS TINY! WHAT HOAP!)

    And trailer’s over.

    Corny, simple and probably more memorable than guy in sweater talking about the thing. And definitely way the fuck cheaper. It’s the “GET PSYCHED” from the beginning of Wolfenstein. If you’re lucky it gets some internet traction. Then shortly thereafter you release the video above so people have thing to talk about.

    Maybe I’m wrong. I have no experience in actually making these things or even thinking about how they are made. What I just described is probably the worst fucking thing since The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

    • GernauMorat says:

      “TO THE LAST I GRAPPLE WITH THEE
      FROM HELL’S HEART I STAB AT THEE
      FOR HATE’S SAKE I SPIT MY LAST BREATH AT THEE”

      Doesn’t Ahab say this?

  5. Author X says:

    I was with them right up until “randomly generated”. I’ve had some fun with roguelikes and roguelites, but I’m getting sick of the tropes, and particularly in a game that boasts “exploration and environmental puzzles” as core features, I’d rather play through a deliberately crafted level design than one generated by combining various disconnected features. The only benefit to random generation is to make different playthroughs distinct, and from the description of this game I’d much rather play through once and really enjoy it than replay and go, “oooh, last time the boulder I needed to hold down this switch was on the left, this time I had to go to the right and climb up a hill, this is amazing.”

  6. Polifemo says:

    Im suprised no one has made a snatky comment at the sheer amount of buzzwords in the pitch. “procedually generated”, “Journey” “SotC”, Dark Souls”, “Legend of Zelda”, are fine words to use but I get vibes of “overambition” or “were not 100% certain of what we want to do or how to do it” and just a bit of “were throwing all these features togetjer because were not sure how to cleanly present our vague idea” when I see those words mashed together to describe something.

    I wish them luck but Id rather a developer focus on doing one thing right than spreading themselves thin and get bogged down by their own ambition. Its early enough that they can cut the fat though and I hope they make it.

  7. frobishlumpkin says:

    Don’t know why they’re bringing up Journey…Shadow of the Colossus already had those elements. Comparing itself to those games plus Legend of Zelda makes me feel like they’re crafting their world based on wanting it to feel like those games rather than based on their own creative image, which is worrisome.

  8. hypercrisis says:

    $5 says they threw this project together as soon as they saw Marvel’s Thor announcement. Sprites looks rough and shoddy, background plain. Nothing in way of gameplay visible.

  9. MobileAssaultDuck says:

    Their portrayal of the Norns is borderline offensive to members of the Asatru faith. I’m not one myself, but if someone took my religion, mashed it together with Native American shamanism and then proceeded to mispronounce all the entities from my religion, I’d be a little miffed.

  10. lordcooper says:

    Neopagan here, I’m cool with it.

    E: reply fail.

  11. lordcooper says:

    Neopagan here, I’m cool with it.